Oh, how I hate that sound! The incessant mid-toned electrical beeping. The accompanying command to arise. It runs through my head with an endless tirade of annoyance. If my mother had been made into some semi-intelligent computer module, this is what she would be. Damn her. And damn this bloody machine.
"Shut the fuck up! I'm awake, you worthless collection of binary."
Ah! Peace. Though, the thing won't allow me to fall back into the reverie of sleep - it scans my heart rate and brain activity, and will once again commence should my 'vitals' show signs of regressing from consciousness. I hate the damned machine, but can't turn it off as it is hard-wired throughout our little underground building.
That was how it started - underground buildings. It was common knowledge that Mars did not have a suitable environment for us humans to survive. So, being ever resourceful, we started our disruptions of our neighbour. Drilling and mining hundreds of miles below the red surface, whole cities were built. We exchanged the darkened state of a planet on the brink, for the true blackness of an underground society.
The Marquis, being a man of great vision, knew this would only be temporary - whilst we could maintain an emulation of Earth's atmosphere in enclosed places, we could not so easily do so on Mars' surface. And so, as we built our new empire underground, massive machines forced to the surface all the elements needed for the atmosphere to sustain human life. Apparently, it took a full century to fully change the atmosphere of Mars. We were lucky, I suppose, in that we didn't destroy the planet through our manufactured changes.
Well, that is where the Central Third resides. Underground, in a building that had served as one of seven hundred so-called 'environment pumps' - great machines designed to change the face of the planet. An archaic building, it is very much a utilitarian place. No pretty decorations, and intrinsically dull; the walls all are a cold grey steel, the floors are all the same, apart from the few lucky quarters that have floors of pale ivory concrete. It is warm here, humid, oh so humid. And the noise... It is overbearing, even now. During the day, when there is an abundance of activity, every spoken word, every fallen step, each beep of a computer terminal, everything echoes, reverberating throughout the massive building until only one who is accustomed doesn't go insane. If we aren't insane already - shit, we are going against the Marquis and his massive army.
I complete my usual morning routine of washing, shaving and a rigorous workout, to then sit at the module in my quarters. First up, I check the tripe being fed to the populous by the Marquis and his goons. More news of great successes in battles against rebels. Praise for the scientists who created so worthless a new device. Reiterations of Innalis and its glory that we now live in. Glory? I saw more glory from a fat Khandack sat on the shitter. An interesting article, however, was on the new branch of the Royalist army; some new elite force that would crush the scum of the Guild. Interesting, indeed, but of no real concern - the idiots didn't even know where more than a fifth of us all were. In truth, it made me chuckle with scorn.
Then, onto the Guild network, checking out the real news. Not a great deal, apart from a few new recruits - we always knew one another by face, there was no special insignia, as much as the Marquis thought so - and the possibility of a new chapter on Hervan 7. Two raids prevented by relocation, a new upgrade to one of the systems I never had the need to use. So, all was good in the universe, it seemed.
One thing, however, caught my attention. Then, it always did. My communications centre flashed to show that there was a new message for me. Brilliant. What a great way to start the day. I walked out of my quarters, the door automatically locking behind me. We were in an old, ugly building, but had all the modern conveniences, touching the flesh on my left arm in a few select places, I added my own security protocol to the door, a nice bespoke piece of work that I had created. Few of the seventy two men and women at this chapter were about the corridors, which was for the best, as I made my way towards the office that housed the leader of our chapter.
I certainly didn't hate the man, he had earned his position through great service to the Guild, but if the situation ever arises, I would have no second thoughts of punching him on that crooked massive nose of his. As I walked in, without a knock, I knew I had failed to hide the scowl on my face. The man was... He was simply insufferable.
Jacob Eraldamus. Chief of Chapter Central Third. the most arrogant little worm I had ever met in all my life, sat in his chair, feet on the metallic desk thankfully hiding his Kerach-like face, spoke not to me, but at me. As though his position had somehow granted him a higher position of mortality than my own. Oh, don't be mistaken, that time will come, and when it does, that crooked beast on his face will be be made straight.
"You received the message then, Brigadier?"
He twisted my rank, as though it had any real significance, in an attempt to degrade me, to further enhance his own delusional perspective that I was less than he. I simply gave a curt nod, and remained silent. He wouldn't see the nod, which was perfectly fine, and entirely my intention.
"Well, man? Answer me!"
I'd already given my answer. So, I held for a moment, the moron wouldn't move from his chair all day, and I already knew all I needed.
I never once gave him the pleasure of using his rank and title when in conversation with him. The grunt that followed was satisfying enough for me, though. His raised hand, the middle finger elevated, however, made me laugh.
"You're a real fucking moron, Jacob. May the Royalists find this earth-forsaken office and slap a bullet in your gut."
I walked out of the office, knowing I would be heading back for the quarters I had just left. It was merely protocol, having to go into attendance with that idiot, I already knew all I needed to know, and had all the equipment necessary. Of course, I would now need to gather my men. Tapping four, obviously targeted, positions on my right hand, a message was sent to each of the four members in my team.
Soon, with my team at hand, and the day beginning to break on the surface, the reason I had come to this awful chapter would be realised.
The death of the Marquis. The final insurrection of the Guild.